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What are the GED® Tests?
The Tests of General Educational Development were developed in 1942 to certify a high school level of academic skills for those people who did not graduate from high school. They were originally used to test veterans of World War II to determine whether returning GIs were qualified to attend higher education institutions. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, 11 Canadian provinces, and the U.S. insular areas and freely associated states use the GED Tests as a basis for awarding high school equivalency credentials. Most U.S. employers consider the GED® credential in the same manner as a high school diploma. Almost all U.S. colleges and universities accept the GED transcript for admissions purposes. GED Tests are available in English, French, and Spanish versions.
Who is eligible to take the GED® Tests in Pennsylvania?
If you are 18 years old or older, you must meet the following criteria to take the GED Tests in Pennsylvania:
If you are 16 or 17 years of age, you must meet the above criteria and also provide written verification from your school superintendent or principal stating that you are withdrawn from school. In addition, you must provide a letter from one of the following:
These letters must be written on company or school letterhead and signed by the appropriate staff. Persons 16 years old and older who are under the direction of correctional facilities or parole/probation offices are eligible to take the GED Tests while enrolled in school, if so ordered by a court. No persons under the age of 16 are eligible to take the GED Tests in Pennsylvania.
What is the GED diploma?
Pennsylvania issues the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma to all candidates who successfully complete the GED Tests. Some school districts may exchange the Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma for a high school diploma. Interested applicants must contact their school district directly.
What is the minimum passing score?
Pennsylvania requires a passing score of 2250 total points on all five GED tests. Each test score can be no lower than 410 points. If you receive at least 410 on each of the five tests but do not receive a total score of 2250, you may retest on any of the tests to achieve the points necessary for a 2250 total score.
Is retesting allowed?
Applicants may retest any test they do not pass. An applicant may take each test only three times a year because there are only three different forms of the tests. It is at the discretion of the Chief Examiner to determine the frequency of testing and retesting. Applicants are encouraged to attend GED preparation classes prior to retesting.
How do I get a diploma?
Upon a candidate's successful completion of the GED Tests, the Pennsylvania Department of Education will issue a Commonwealth Secondary School Diploma. Only one diploma will be issued per candidate; duplicate diplomas are not issued. The diploma will be sent to the address the applicant provides. Transcripts are issued with diplomas and can be reissued upon request. Candidates who take the GED Tests before turning 18 years old will be issued diploma on their 18th birthday.
How can I get a copy of my transcript?
Individuals who have passed the GED Tests may fill out a GED transcript request form (on screen or on paper), then mail in the form and $3.00 fee per transcript in the form of a money order. The $3.00 fee is nonrefundable. Click here to download a transcript request form (pdf) .
Requests for GED transcripts MUST be accompanied by a money order for $3.00 per transcript made out to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Transcripts can be picked up at the GED office at the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 333 Market Street, 12th Floor, Harrisburg. With the $3.00 money order and a photo ID, a transcript can be issued while you wait. Duplicate diplomas are not issued. When sending a request, please include:
Commonwealth Diploma Program
333 Market Street, 12th Floor
Harrisburg, PA 17126
Are Accommodations allowed?
People who need special accommodations because of a learning disability must furnish the examiner with documented proof of the disability and a description of the accommodations needed at least 30 days before registering for the GED test.
The forms required to be completed to request special accommodations may be picked up at the Fowler Family Southside Center Adult Literacy office at any time during regular office hours. Once the forms are completed, they are sent to Harrisburg for approval.
If you think you have a disability but you do not have documentation, first contact your State's Vocational Rehabilitation Office. The National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC), at 1-800-346-2742, may also be able to help.